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County briefs

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By Deborah Swearingen

TAP being formed to study downtown Evergreen

A newly approved grant will allow the county to form a technical advisory panel to study downtown Evergreen.

The technical panel, coordinated by the Urban Land Institute, will address obstacles and challenges with development or redevelopment of underperforming retail areas, vacant sites or buildings, downtowns or other commercial areas.

The Denver Regional Council of Governments will provide $5,000 for the study with an additional $5,000 from the Downtown Evergreen Economic District and another $5,000 from Jeffco.

“… (Evergreen) has a lot of downtown historic character, one of those Main Street downtown areas in unincorporated Jefferson County,” said planner Heather Gutherless. “We really only have a handful of these in unincorporated areas, and it is one of our largest.”

The area faces a number of issues, including a large floodplain and steep slopes on either side of the floodplain. Further, Gutherless said, the current zoning would not allow downtown Evergreen to be rebuilt as it is today if it were destroyed by a flood or wildfire.

“Staff really wants to look at: What are some options? How can we make the downtown Evergreen area a vibrant area that can redevelop without having a whole bunch of zoning hurdles and make sure that we also look at the floodplain and the steep slopes? There’s also some pretty major parking issues in the downtown Evergreen area as far as meeting our parking standards,” she said.

To form the technical advisory panel, ULI will bring in experts to assess and will work with stakeholders in the area. Stakeholder meetings and a final report presentation are tentatively scheduled for September 2019.

County studying water availability with grant

With a $10,000 grant, the county plans to contract with the Colorado Geological Survey to review the county’s water supply process and to complete a technical review of the water availability analysis.

The grant, provided by the Sonoran Institute, was awarded to Jeffco because of its Growing Water Smart workshop hosted by Sonoran last September. The workshop was meant to “bridge the gap between land development and water supply,” according to Pat O’Connell, the county’s engineering geologist.

The Colorado Geological Survey, housed at the Colorado School of Mines, will be tasked with reviewing four items:

• Research and provide general comments on the goals and policies related to water in the county’s comprehensive master plan.

• Research and provide general comments on the Mountain Groundwater Overlay District section in the county’s zoning resolution.

• Research and provide general comments on the water supply section in the county’s land development regulation.

• Research and provide general comments on the water availability analysis, which is an ArcGIS program Jefferson County utilizes to evaluate water availability for development projects that propose to utilize a water supply well in the fractured crystalline rock environment.

“While these are all very important, and I’m eager to hear what the results are, I wonder, too, about the depth of the work. … What aren’t we learning? Or what do we need to learn more about that this may not cover? … That whole issue around water is a big one,” said Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper during the briefing.

“Agreed. It probably gets us closer to where we need to be. Ten thousand dollars is not a lot of money from a consultant standpoint,” O’Connell said. “… The end result, some of their review and analysis, it may lead to a future step.”

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042. Follow her on Twitter @djswearingen.